Cleaning Your Tires
What is the best way to clean tires and rubber trim?
Tires and any rubber trim on the exterior of your car need to be protected from sunlight and ozone which cause the rubber in your tires or trim to deteriorate over time. Tires can become cracked or "dry rotted" and door and window seals can eventually crack and allow water to leak in to your car. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How to Clean Your Tires
There are many tire cleaners out there, some are packaged with a protectant built in as well. These one-step products offer convenience but rarely do the best job. I personally have been a fan of Wesley's Bleche-Wite which is now owned by Black Magic. It's a nasty cleaner, and caution should be used to avoid breathing the stuff and getting it on your wheels. A less nasty option would be a product like Simple Green. Either way you go, use a stiff brissle brush to scrub the tires and rinse with water when you are done.
Protect Those Clean Tires
There are plenty of products out there, find one you like. Some offer a slick finish, others a more matte finish. The important thing is that it conditions and protects the rubber in your tires. The product should have a UV protectant in it and not contain solvent based silicone which can hurt your tires ability to protect from ozone. Products which are milky white are typically water-based and better than clear, slick, solvent based silicones. Due to the many brands and flavors of products on the market, I will avoid naming names, but check around forums and with friends for opinions. And as in most things in life, you get what you pay for. Stay away from cheaper brands of tire dressings.
What about my trim and rubber weather stripping?
Most of your trim will be cleaned at the same time you are washing your car, which just leaves the protection layer you have to worry about. Similar to tire dressings, you have many choices. You want to look for a product that conditions and protects. Milky white water based products seem to be the best, but your mileage may vary
What about the white wax residue on my rubber trim?
There are several wax removers which have hit the market in the past 10 years, that do a good job of getting wax residue off of trim. Consider treating your trim before waxing, to keep way from sticking in the first place. But if you already waxed the car, and have to deal with the residue on your trim, use the remover sparingly and apply with a small 100% cotton towel. Nothing looks worse that the left over wax residue, and believe me it will stick out like a sore thumb.